Another chain that shackles our living free experience is the chain of fear. We live in an anxious age. I honestly don’t know when in my lifetime I have felt such angst about every single topic that comes up in conversation or in the news. Think about these issues; a pandemic, politics, family life, health, immigration, the well-being of children, clean water, violence, climate change … and we could go on and on.
We all have ideas of how to respond to these political and social issues and it discourages us – and adds to our anxiety – when the answers we see in the world around us show not only a pervasive immorality, but an outright complete lack of common sense. Instead of moral or even common sense solutions, we are bombarded by extreme positions, moral confusion, complete dysfunction, scarcity, and intimidation by those in power. It stirs up fear.
Into this confusion and anxiety, Jesus says, “Do not fear, do not be anxious.” And He gives us this promise, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The antidote to fear is the peace of Christ. The answer to fear is courage; the courage to trust His constant presence and ultimate power to make things right. The remedy for fear is our faith in the promises of God.
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). Christ’s promise and Christ’s presence drive out fear. We sometimes struggle to experience that presence today because to be honest it is not always easy to sense the Christ inside. It can feel like a mystery. It requires us to stretch our faith muscles and believe what we cannot see. In the world to come, when our present world has been overcome for good, we will see and grasp God’s presence in the most real way possible.
But until then, we have the promise that Christ has now, in the present tense, overcome the world. And through our connection to Christ, as our Savior and Brother, we overcome the world, and the fear that comes with it. It is not a physical victory – our personal world and the larger world may still be falling apart around us – but we are promised a spiritual victory of experiencing the peace of Christ inside.
So throw off the chain of fear. Do not allow yourself to become immobilized by the sheer volume of moral confusion in our world. Love, serve, and encourage those Christ has brought into your life. Demonstrate to those around you what a life set free looks like; a life set free from fear, worry, and anxiety. Because despite all the pompous declarations of the world – and political or social victories they celebrate – deep inside, the peace of Christ is the desire of every heart.